Mystery surrounds who is staying or going at the helm of key Thurrock Council services and projects

By Neil Speight

27th Jan 2021 | Local News

WITH major questions hanging over the overspends and management of major projects in the borough including the A13 widening project and the regeneration of Stanford rail stations, Thurrock Council has refused to comment on reports that senior officers connected with those and other major infrastructure projects in the council are leaving.

Thurrock Nub News is aware that a number of senior officers, including Anna Eastgate, the assistant director with responsibility for the Lower Thames Crossing and Transport Infrastructure Projects including the A13 and Stanford Rail Station, are leaving the authority.

Ms Eastgate, who earns around £100,000 a year, was the person brought in to solve the problems on both projects which are both overspent and behind their original schedules – and which may well be about to burst the latest deadlines and cost predictions. The council has declined to respond to questions from Thurrock Nub News about the total cost and completions dates of them.

She also gained a degree of notoriety for her actions on camera at a virtual council meeting when she appeared to be mocking the statements of Director of Place Andrew Millard about the projects.

Others going are believed to include Carol Hinvest, the assistant director for housing (another in the £100,000 wage bracket) and David Moore, Interim Assistant Director, Place Delivery who was on a shorter term contract.

And last week we were advised by sources within the council that Mr Millard – whose job pays more than £135,000 a year - is also going.

Other senior members of the council's leading management cohort are also said to be leaving.

One who is going in March is Roger Harris, Director of Adults, Housing and Health who also earns around £135,000 a year. His departure has been announced formally but council have stressed his departure was not retirement.

We asked Thurrock Council to confirm if the reports of a significant number of departures were true – and if so, was it problematic?

The authority has declined to answer questions about specific individuals but in a statement said: "As you will appreciate we are not in a position to comment on the plans of individuals, announcements regarding departures and appointments are made at the appropriate time.

"The resourcing of the council's leadership team is the joint responsibility of the Chief Executive and members and plans to ensure the council can effectively fulfil its functions are put in place and agreed as required.

"In the last three years, including up to the end of this financial period, the council has seen no more turnover at the senior level than most other similar authorities. In that time, we have had long-serving officers announce their retirement from the public sector and others secure promotions to senior roles within local government.

"Additionally, where senior roles have become vacant due to natural movement, existing Thurrock Council officers have been appointed in to them following external competitive processes, again demonstrating that the council invests in its staff development to ensure the officer team is as strong as possible and is valued."

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